Visions ’23 exhibition features student art

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An exhibition features the work of local students from six Valley high schools after they spent a year attending monthly workshops conducted by professional artists and touring universities to learn more about continuing art as a future career. The exhibition is organized by Brittany Arnold, Community Engagement Manager for Scottsdale Arts Learning and Innovation.

“Visions is a teen art program offered through the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and we put them in connection with professional working artists to teach about their skills,” Arnold said.

The artworks created by these students cover a range of topics from mental health, LGBTQIA+, missing and murdered Indigenous women, living in a post-COVID world and more.

Carlos Romero Contreras, a recent graduate of Shadow Mountain High School, is 17 years old, and he’s been making art since he was seven.

“The first thing I learned is that there are a lot of different ways of art. There was a time when I used to think it was all about painting on a canvas. It’s so extensive how art can be,” Contreras said.

Contreras created a piece called, “The Tormented Man,” an acrylic on canvas. The image is of a man who is restrained by a marsh of absolute turmoil, choking and submerging him back into the depths.

“I wanted to do something that would escape yourself from bad memories, and I was also inspired by another student that also used shapes and hands that came out of the canvas,” Contreras said.

The students would write goals at the beginning of the year, and then they would reflect on them at the end. “Carlos’s goal was that I want to make a painting that breaks out of the canvas,” Arnold said.

The exhibition is on display at SMOCA until August 6 and is free to view on Thursdays.

Brittany Arnold, Community Engagement Manager for Scottsdale Arts Learning and Innovation; Carlos Romero Contreras, Art Student

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